Detroit Hydrofest disconnects for the second year in a row
Detroit – Hydrofest has dropped anchor for 2021.
High-powered boat races on the Detroit River are canceled for a second year in a row, organizers said Thursday. Hydrofest lacked funds to continue this year, a year after races were canceled due to COVID-19.
“It is with great disappointment that our attempt to organize a seaplane race on the Detroit River will not take place,” Mark Weber, president of Detroit Riverfront Events, said in a statement to The News. “Our board is adamant that we need a quality event that makes our sponsor proud and our fans happy. We worked until June to put together a program that we felt could have been promoted and produced to meet those expectations. Unfortunately, we couldn’t guarantee that DREI could meet these expectations with less than 60 days before the scheduled race weekend.
“We are now looking forward to 2022 and continuing the tradition of boat racing on the Detroit River. “
Weber had told The News last month that the races were to take place “50-50” as scheduled, August 27-29, after learning that outdoor capacity restrictions would be lifted on June 1. DREI was able to secure a sponsorship from Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers, but there was still $ 150,000 missing in mid-June. It costs the organizers $ 500,000 to organize the races. Weber said it would be soon for organizers to “pull out the ‘go’ plug or pull the plug out.”
Seaplane racing on the Detroit River dates back over 100 years and hosted the prestigious American Power Boat Association Gold Cup for many of those years.
The races debuted in 1916 and feature H1 Unlimited seaplanes that can reach 200 mph.
Detroit Hydrofest has struggled to fund periodically over the years, most recently in 2015, when it planned to cancel races until a last minute sponsor hires. Races typically draw up to 50,000 or more over a three-day weekend, with a variety of seating options all along the river, including local restaurants, the Yacht Club, and organized ticketing sections. .
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